Woman of the Twentieth Century Essay

Submitted By kristimaexo
Words: 1196
Pages: 5

“The New Women is New” In the early twentieth-century, in the United States a man was considered the head of his household. His wife along with all she possessed was his property. Her role in the house was to be a housewife, and being a housewife her role was to obey, and make her husband’s life easier. She was to take care of their children, clean the house, cook the meals, and do whatever else her husband ordered. Women had to dress in the view of true femininity, long full dresses so that no skin was shown, with shoes that even covered their toes. “The “Cult of True Domesticity” considered women to be pious, passive, pure and domestic.”(Austin, 9-6-13) Although women didn’t have many rights in the early 1900’s, the 1920’s brought more rights and freedoms for women. The “Roaring Twenties” represented just the start of such changes, and women’s rights increased in the decades that followed. The 1920’s was a time of conservation and social change. From politics to fashion, forces collided to make the “Roaring Twenties” a revolution. In 1920, after years of struggle, American women received the right to vote. Just as important, more women gained financial independence as the number of women in the workforce skyrocketed. About eight million women were employed by 1920. (http://www.digitalhistory.uh.ed u/disp_textbook print.cfm?smtid=2&p sid=3400) Although they were generally confined to “traditional” women’s jobs such as secretaries, typists, and clerks, the new financial freedom that these jobs offered opened the doors to increase social mobility for women. Despite the fact that women’s rights and women’s appearance has changed, there were still limits on women. However, women were able to work, but they did not win new opportunities in the workforce. Most women were still housewives, and the ones that did go out and work received less pay than their male counterparts. (http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook_print.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3400) The 1920’s was also a decade of profound social changes. A new symbol of the Jazz Aged emerged, the image of the short-haired, short skirted, independent minded, and sexually liberated “flapper.” The flappers were also known for drinking, smoking and becoming sexually active. Soon, the flapper came to represent everything modern in 1920’s America. Clara Bow was one of the first silver screen sex sirens, flaunting her sexuality in an age when such behavior was still shocking. She personified the roaring twenties which she had shown in her defining film “It.” “In this silent film, Bow’s female friend helps her get ready by cutting her dress with scissors, cementing Bow’s reputation for fuelling youth rebellion after the war.” (http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/clara-bow.html) In this film, not only did Bow wear a short dress out in public, but she also had short hair, and make-up on. Bow’s appearance wasn’t the only thing that had shown change in women in the 1920’s, but also her independent mind. Her character in this film showed how independence started increasing for women, when Bow slapped her boss when he tried to kiss her. (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=UAF2g5X-P4c) For some, the flappers also changed the role of women in the 1920's. They cut their hair, started wearing make-up, and lived every moment to the fullest. They partied, danced, drank, and smoked. With this new image of women, a sexual revolution followed as attitude toward sex changed, and birth control became widely accepted and available. While the flapper created a new image for women, most women still dressed in long dresses and obeyed their husbands. It was mostly actors and Hollywood that promoted the image of the “flapper.” Women saw their roles in the household enhanced as they juggled to make ends meet. No housewife lost their job during the depression, if anything more women helped out during this rough time, by going out to work and staying strong for the family. The Farmers